Urban escape at Luna Wellness

Luna wellness is an unexpected oasis in the middle of the suburb Kenridge. When I walked through the doors leading to the wellness clinic I was immediately transported to a world of warmth, relaxation and above all expert skincare. Stephanie (owner and therapist) has 12 years medical skincare experience and I felt it the moment she started my treatment.

There’s just something about the touch of a therapist who has years of experience and expertise in her field. So needless to say, I felt like I was in good hands!

Stephanie performed the US brand ISClinical’s award-winning treatment – the Fire and Ice Peel – on me. She started with a thorough cleanse with warm steam ensuring my skin was a clean canvas to do the peel on. The “Fire” step Intensive Resurfacing Mask – a 18% Glycolic acid in a creamy base – was applied to my skin like a mask and left to work for 5 minutes. This was only slightly stingy – I actually found it very comfortable yet active (which is what I wanted!) at the same time. She did warn me that when she was going to neutralise it with water it would sting – and it did. Nothing that was impossible to handle but it was quite burny on the skin. The cinnamon in the peel also gave it a distinct smell and a warm feeling on the skin.

Next up was the Pro-heal serum jam-packed with anti-oxidants – great for anti-ageing and healing. She then applied the “Ice” part Rejuvenating Mask of the treatment which was a gel like cooling and hydrating mask. This felt fantastic after the warm “Fire” of the peel. This was massaged into my skin – soooo relaxing! After she removed the mask she finished off with the Hydra-cool serum to leave my skin fresh and moisturised. The final touches included a moisturiser and all important sunblock.

My skin felt rejuvenated and fresh, it looked even toned and glowing – making me one super happy mommy! A couple of hours afterwards my skin felt tight – which I liked – that “pulling” feeling which actually makes me feel as if I had a mini face lift! My skin felt super smooth and looked really healthy and glowy for a couple of days after.

I am very impressed with this treatment and can highly recommend it to anyone looking for a more active treatment to treat ageing, pigmentation and a dull lifeless skin.

I will definitely be going back to Luna Wellness – for me it is super important to know that I am in expert hands as well as in a relaxing environment and you are guaranteed to get both at this lovely home based salon!

Read here about ISClinical.

Follow this link to find out more about LUNA Wellness.

You can get in touch with Stephanie at Luna Wellness on 072 436 2125

 

Sunblock – your cheapest anti-ageing skin product?

A respected medical doctor in the skin care industry recently made this comment, and it stuck with me.  He said that wearing a sunblock every day is your cheapest anti-ageing skin care product.  Some food for thought if you are interested in maintaining your skin health and youth.

Approximately 80% of the skin ageing that has happened in your skin is caused by UVR.  Physical signs of ageing – Facial lines, wrinkles, age spots, sagging and dull skin to name a few.  UVA and UVB are by far the biggest culprits when it comes to skin damage and ageing – so it is a VERY GOOD idea to wear a BROAD SPECTRUM sunblock.  See my post on this here.

Have a look at this shocking image of a truck driver exposed to the sun for years on end on the driver’s side.  It clearly shows how the exposure to UVR has AGED his skin significantly more than just chronological (genetic) skin ageing.

17ofktkxvteo8jpgSome practical tips:

  1.  Apply a liberal amount (some say at least a teaspoon!) every morning on the face and neck after applying your other skin care products.  Apply make-up over your sun protection product.
  2. Don’t fall in the trap of thinking that your make-up’s SPF is sufficient.
  3. If you have an outdoor lifestyle you might want to consider re-applying around midday.
  4. In general – try to stay out of direct sunlight between at least 11 and 3.
  5. Cover up with protective clothing, wear a hat when you can and put on those gorgeous big sun glasses for protection of your eyes and the delicate skin around the eyes.
  6. Don’t neglect your neck and décolleté as well as forearms and hands!

Have a look at this cool video showing how important wearing sunscreen is!

Love

Helene x x x

DOES WHAT YOU EAT AFFECT YOUR SKIN? – Part 1

This has been a question that’s been asked for years by clients as well as skin care professionals. I remember as a student, we were told that it’s an absolute myth that what you eat like for example junk food, dairy or sugar can affect your skin.

Well, luckily since then we have moved on and have been enlightened by new scientific research to answer the question that YES – what you put into your body every single day doesn’t only affect your body weight (which is the main concern for many of us), but also your general health and subsequently your skin condition too!

This is a very personal thing and something you will probably figure out through trial and error. I have known about the potential adverse effects of sugar and wheat on the skin – but I believe I haven’t experienced it first-hand until recently. In my previous blog I wrote about my recent skin care woes in the form of redness, dryness and swelling (eczema) and a bout of mild adult acne on my face. Short term oral and topical medication worked for a while, but like most short-term solutions, the problem didn’t go away. At the first glimpse of stress/some irritant/cold dry air – it came back. Now I feel ready and desperate enough to try to find a long-term solution. Unfortunately with many of these kind of medical issues – it is often up to you to do your own research and figure out the long-term solution that will work for YOU. This can be a frustrating but a necessary path in the pursuit of obtaining your optimum health and wellness.

I will look at 2 of the most common dietary villains: SUGAR & WHEAT – and the potential of causing and/or aggravating 3 common SKIN ISSUES: AGEING, ACNE & ECZEMA (Acne & Eczema: Part 2).

SUGAR

Let’s start by clarifying this substance called sugar. Table sugar (sucrose) is made up of glucose and fructose and some say that FRUCTOSE is the real enemy. So this will include ALL the thousands of products in our grocery stores containing sugar often disguised with over 55 different names:

sugarGenerally speaking, if the food (can you really call it food…?) comes in a wrapper/box etc. it is called processed food and all processed food contain heaps of hidden sugars. And I’m not only talking about your sweet foods, check out the labels on your savory items too.

Fruits contain natural fruit sugar called fructose. So now what…? Fruits used to be an occasional treat for our ancestors.  Try to see fruit as an occasional treat or even one a day if you need to. Eat the fruit that you enjoy, but remember that certain fruits like mangos, bananas and pineapples are the highest in fructose. I’m not going to even talk about fruit juice… I think most of us realize by now that fruit juice is everything but healthy containing as much sugar as sugar laden fizzy drinks.

What about CARBS like bread, pasta and rice?  All foods high in carbohydrates rapidly convert to glucose when eaten. This subsequently causes a spike in your blood sugar levels and an increase in the secretion of insulin by your pancreas into your blood stream. Insulin has been labeled the fat storing and inflammation causing hormone.

WHEAT

Wheat is EVERYWHERE.  Just start checking food labels on anything from sauces, soups, ready-made-meals, deserts and all your “obvious” CARBS (breads; breakfast cereals; crackers; biscuits; pastries; pasta; wraps etc.) – and you will notice wheat is very much THERE.

Dr. William Davis, MD – author of the international bestseller: Wheat Belly states the following:

Wheat, more than any other foodstuff is woven into the fabric of the Western food experience.

Modern commercial wheat production has been intent on delivering features such as increased yield, decreased production costs and large-scale production of a consistent commodity.  All the while, virtually no questions have been asked about whether these features are compatible with human health.

Documented peculiar effects of wheat on humans include appetite stimulation, exposure to brain-active endorphins, exaggerated blood sugar surges that trigger cycles of satiety alternating with heightened appetite, the process of glycation that underlies disease and ageing, inflammatory and pH effects that erode cartilage and damage bone, and activation of disordered immune responses.

THE EFFECTS ON YOUR SKIN

AGING

skin ageing

Sugars in your bloodstream can permanently attach to protein like collagen and elastin in our skin and rest of the body. This process is called GLYCATION and results in the formation of harmful advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

Prevention.com says the following:  The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop. “As AGEs accumulate, they damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion,” explains Fredric Brandt, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Miami and New York City. Most vulnerable to damage: collagen and elastin, the protein fibres that keep skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Dr. Perricone also states that:  At the point of attachment between the protein (collagen) and sugar molecule, there is a small mechanism creating inflammation, which then becomes a source of inflammation in its own right. This inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen, resulting in wrinkled, sagging skin. In addition to inflammation, glycation also causes cross-linking in our collagen, making it stiff and inflexible where it was once soft and supple. Glycation creates “free radical” factories known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which also increase cellular inflammation.

A study was done demonstrating the ageing effects of sugar:

Scientists from the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and Unilever in the UK measured the blood sugar levels of 600 men and women aged between 50 and 70. Photographs of these people were presented to a board of 60 independent evaluators. What these evaluators perceived in this study was that those with higher blood sugar levels looked older than those with lower blood sugar levels. The researchers also discovered that with every 1mm/liter increase in blood sugar, the perceived age of that person rose by five months!

 Dr. William Davis states in his book that: Wheat can exert age-advancing skin effects, such as wrinkles and lost elasticity, through the formation of advanced glycation end products.

 WHAT CAN YOU START DOING NOW?

Look out for products containing anti-oxidants; retinoids and AGEs fighting ingredients.

Some of my personal favourite anti-oxidant skin care products:

2015-05-26 16.53.56 Skinceuticals Phloretin CF:

I love this anti-oxidant serum.  It has a super light, liquid texture and a few drops are applied onto clean skin in the morning before your moisturizer and sunblock.  This is perfect for my oily and hyper-pigmented skin.

2015-05-26 16.51.56SkinMedica Vitamin C+E Complex:

This amazing anti-oxidant has a velvety/silky texture making it more suitable for more normal to dry skin types.  It is also applied only in the morning under your moisturizer and sunblock.

F30030X-w1000Neostrata’s Skin Active Anti-oxidant Defense Serum

This affordable anti-oxidant serum has a liquid clear gel consistency and glides onto your clean skin every morning before your moisturizer and sunblock.  Oily skin types could find that they do not need an additional moisturizer.  Personal tip:  Don’t apply too much, if you do and then try to rub it in it can form little “bits” on the skin’s surface.

All products available online at Dermastore.co.za and at all Skin Renewal branches nationwide as well as other medical aesthetic practises.

But you can’t get away from starting on the INSIDE.

Here, five steps to eat right and keep your skin looking its youngest.

I hope this blog has given you some useful information on how SUGAR AND WHEAT can cause havoc on your skin in the form of AGEING, ACNE AND ECZEMA (Look out for Part 2 where I will discuss Acne & Eczema!).

I will be writing about my efforts to eliminate sugar & wheat in the next couple of weeks!

Helene x x x

Why you need to wear SPF during winter – Yes you do…

         Why you need to wear SPF during winter – Yes you do…

In Cape Town the weather has turned from glorious summer to chilly autumn. In Cape Town, it is a change over which happens (which feels like) overnight. The scarves, boots and jackets come out and the good old faithful flip-flops get thrown to the back of the cupboard.

I have had the question from friends and clients many times in the past whether it is still necessary to apply a sunblock during the colder months. It kind of makes sense not to. There are no obvious scorching sun rays = no harmful rays getting to your skin so no sunblock needed…?

The quick answer:  YES you do need to continue wearing a BROAD SPECTRUM sunblock of at least SPF30 every single day.

Why?  UVA rays are constant during all daylight hours throughout the year and can reach your skin through clouds & glass.  UVB rays can also damage your skin year-round.

The ELECTROMAGNETIC (light) SPECTRUM SIMPLIFIED:

sun-effectsUVA: These guys have the longest wavelengths at 320 – 400 nanometers. They take up 95 % of the total UVR (Ultra Violet Radiation) reaching the earth’s surface! They are pretty much constant during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass.  EISH.

They also penetrate the skin a lot deeper than UVB and can cause major skin aging, wrinkling (photo aging) and can cause skin cancer.

UVB: They clock in at wavelengths of 290 – 320 nm. Remember when you used to look at the difference in skin color at your bikini line at the end of a day at the beach…? Well, you can thank UVB rays for all that skin reddening and sunburn, because UVB damages the more superficial skin layers.

Unfortunately it also causes skin cancer and once again that dreaded photo ageing. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces e.g snow or water.

UVC: Not to worry about for now – these guys are mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and do not reach the earth.

OK ENOUGH OF SCIENCE – WHAT DO I NEED TO APPLY EVERY DAY?

Your SPF should protect you from both harmful UVB and UVA rays. The new standard for FULL UVA protection is called BROAD SPECTRUM. So look out for this.

FYI in the not so distant past, they (who knows who THEY are…) used to think that UVA didn’t really matter – so most sun blocks were only tested in terms of their UVB protection (the term SPF relates only to UVB blocked).

THERE ARE TWO MAIN TYPES OF UV-SCREENING INGREDIENTS:

PHYSICAL (Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide) – These reflect the UVR away from the skin.

CHEMICAL (all of the rest… e.g avobenzone, oxybenzone etc.) – These absorb the UVR.

WHICH IS BEST??

My personal rule of thumb is that Physical is better. BUT, most sunscreens have a combination of the two which is fine for most of us. If you have a super sensitive skin or even sensitive eyes, the chemical ingredients could irritate your skin. I would also NOT use a chemical based sunscreen POST-PROCEDURE (e.g. chemical peel and micro-needling).

2015-04-21 15.59.13These are a few of my tried and tested favourites.

All Heliocare (Will post a review on other ranges’ SPF’s soon!) – all prices are incl. VAT and are Recommended Prices:

1.Gel SPF50 (Oil-Free) – R307

2. XF Gel SPF50 – R336

3. Spray SPF50 – R412

4. 360 Gel Oil Free – R393

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb/understanding-uva-and-uvb